Art With Grandma 9/18/2020 – DIY Puzzles

Finn loves to draw and he loves puzzles, so this seemed like a perfect project for him. I think it could also be a fun party activity one of these days when it’s safe to have parties again. I believe my kids did something similar when they were small, drawing pictures on cardstock and cutting them into pieces. These pre-cut cardboard puzzles make the project extra easy and extra fun, but for younger children who need simpler shapes and fewer pieces, the completely hand-made version is still a good idea. We chose to use drawings, but you could also glue photographs or magazine pictures to the cardboard and then cut out the pieces. I would probably use spray adhesive or brush-on rubber cement to attach the photo or picture smoothly to the cardboard and use an Exacto knife to do the cutting from the back, so those two steps are something you would need to do for your child unless they are old enough to safely handle adhesives and Exacto knives.

Needed Materials:

  • Blank puzzles (cardstock or lightweight cardboard if you are going to make your own). I purchased ours on They were the Inovart 28-piece Blank Puzzles and the price was $12.99 for a package of 24.
  • Crayons or markers
  • If you are making your own puzzles from cardstock or cardboard, you will also need scissors or an Exacto knife to cut out the pieces.
  • Small plastic bags (like sandwich bags) to keep your finished puzzle pieces separated


With the purchased pre-cut puzzles, this is a very straightforward project; just draw and color a design on the front of the puzzle, then separate the pieces and play.

The more of the puzzle front is covered with solid color or designs, the easier it will be to assemble. In my example above you’ll see I left my sky white on one puzzle and it made it that one a little more difficult to assemble.

It’s a good idea to keep each finished puzzle in its own little plastic bag. If the pieces get mixed together it becomes a tedious task to separate them back out.


I am captivated by the Meet the Artist! series by Patricia Geis. Every time I read one of them, I learn more intriguing facts about my favorite artists. This week I read Meet the Artist! Pablo Picasso (Geis, Princeton Architectural Press, 2013). The reading in this book is far too advanced for young children, but it is interactive, so you can speak to the content and let your child play with the interactive features. A couple of the things that I especially loved about the book are that it includes works Picasso created when he was a child and a teenager and it touches upon the concept that the work an artist makes is reflective of his or her mood or emotions at the time of creation. There is a small amount of very abstracted nudity.


Finn enjoyed this project and easily mastered the steps. I am noticing how grown up he looks in the photograph above. It makes me painfully aware that these children are growing so quickly during the time we are all separated by quarantine and I am very thankful we have this weekly time together, even if it’s online.

One surprise for me this week was that we had to delay our planned session by a day because my husband Jerry cut his hand badly and we had to make an unplanned trip to the ER. I tend to think that these little art lessons of ours can’t possibly be all that exciting to Finn compared to video games and fancy electronic toys, ipads, movies and all the other whiz-bang resources kids have access to these days, but Finn was VERY upset when we had to delay. Once he got over his disappointment about having to wait a day, he had tons of questions about the injury, so Grandpa made a guest appearance on Art With Grandma the next day. I am humbled and thankful that apparently Art With Grandma is an important part of Finn’s week. I still have wonderful memories of my own grandmother teaching me crafts and cooking and gardening. I guess we shouldn’t take it for granted, even in our modern day world, how important the connection is between a grandmother and a grandchild. As we say online, <3<3<3

Jessa made a puzzle, too – beautiful undersea scene!

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